I don’t even remember why or how I landed on Juni Taisen: Zodiac War on Netflix, but I somehow managed to watch all 12 episodes of this trainwreck over 2 days.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Gist of It
Juni Taisen: Zodiac War is pretty much a straightforward Battle Royale type of show based on a light novel of the same name. The basic plot is simple: 12 combatants fight to the death in an evacuated city until only one remains standing.
The twist is that each combatant represents an animal from the Chinese Zodiac. Some, like the Boar, are from prominent “zodiac families” who’vmade a career out of the Zodiac Wars that occur every 12 years. Others voluntarily joined for more personal reasons – like the Monkey, who wishes for a peaceful end to the violent tradition.
The series doesn’t really offer a lot of detail or insight into the hows and whys of the Zodiac War itself. Sure, it tells us that the Zodiac War was created to replace all other wars. For the most part, I found myself asking “WHY” a lot. Why is THIS city the venue? Why does the war occur every 12 years? Why the zodiac theme? Why is the effing Rabbit so cray and so OP?
Death is Inevitable
Since I’m already familiar with the Chinese zodiac cycle, I found the order of deaths predictable and I already knew who the winner would be. Interestingly enough, the series managed to surprise me here and there.
“GET READY FOR THE NEXT BATTLE!”
Each character has their own special fighting techniques/equipment, and they also have their own intros based on that unique fighting style.
Every time the characters formally introduced themselves, I felt like the series was hinting at a spin-off fighting game. Honestly, if they made one, I’d probably pick it up for the lulz.
(Flash)back Stories Everywhere
And while the series doesn’t really offer a lot of detail on the world and the history of the Zodiac War, it does attempt to provide interesting stories for each of the characters. Like the Tiger, for example. As someone actually born in the year of the Tiger, I was mildly offended that my animal was being represented by a drunkard in a bikini – but her backstory sort of made up for it.
And I say sort of because most of these stories, even the Tiger’s, were told poorly. The formulaic, long-winded flashback sequences got pretty old really fast.
While I get that the backstory sequences were included to add more meat to the series and to break up the rapid pace of the combat sequences, some of them were just so long and cliche that you the momentum and tension the fight scenes attempt to build up.
A Quick, Bloody Watch
All-in-all, Juni Taisen: Zodiac War isn’t really something I would normally enjoy. But I somehow became morbidly fascinated by it. I knew this was going to be a shallow watch, and that that the chronology of the characters’ deaths were sooo predictable…but I was still curious to see how exactly each warrior would die.
This is definitely not something worth watching if you’re looking for a well-developed storyline and cast of characters. But if you’re looking to kill some time with a short series that’s full of fun, crazy-violent fight scenes, then Zodiac War is right up your alley.
Images from Pinterest UK (native upload), Bubble Blabber, Reel Rundown, World Without Horizons, and Juuni Taisen Wiki.
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